8 Fun Ways of Connecting with the Wild

You might agree that we all need to do more of one thing. That is…Get outdoors and connect to the wild. By ‘the wild’, I mean the stuff that is not artificial, digital, or virtual — Otherwise, known as… nature! How about some fun ways of doing that?

8 Magic Ways to Connect to the Wild, Forest Bathing, Green Exercise, Foraging, Parks, Wildlife Adventures, Moon Gardening,

 

The one certainty is we all benefit from connecting. Being in the fresh air and green spaces is best for our health.

In fact, we can’t live without it — literally!

Because of how we live our lives today, there is a huge disconnect. So, it’s important to think about ways to connect to nature consciously. I’m hoping one of these below ideas, at least, will get you or your network positively fired up.

#1. Forest bathing

Forest bathing or shinrin-yoku is a Japanese practice of connecting to the wild, for wellbeing and health.

It was coined and promoted in 1982 by the Japanese government to encourage urbanites to immerse themselves in nature.

It is based on scientific principles of trees having healing properties¹ (see also my previous post #1 Way to Naturally Feel Good).

That is, being in nature, in greenery and immersed in uplifting forest scents, relieves our stresses, increases our immune response, and activates our parasympathetic nervous system that promotes relaxation.

The scents are phytoncides, which have been shown to help improve our airways and immune responses.

A forest is a place to unplug, awaken your spiritual side, and take the time to reflect and receive ideas.

Guided programs, like these in the US: Shinrin Yoku and Nature & Forest Therapy, in Europe: Samura Spain, and in Australia: Guided Forest Bathing and guide training, are available.

However, you can create your own forest bathing practice or check your locality for programs near you.

Forest bathing means engaging your senses in nature. To add the magic:

  • See colors, shapes, and textures of the forest life.
  • Hear movement and calls of forest life.
  • Feel the earth beneath you, the robustness of the trees, the texture of the bark, the dampness around.
  • Smell the blossoms and other forest scents.
  • Only taste what you have accurately identified as edible.

What you’ll need:

Knowledge:

Book: Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder.

Forest Therapy information from Forest Therapy Association of the Americas.

Gear:

#2. Moon gardening

This novel gardening approach uses night-blooming plants, in which the hormone, florigen, is produced during the day to trigger blooms at night.

There are many plants in this range.

Those I can vouch for:

  • Four-o’clocks (Mirabilis jalapa)
  • Common Jasmine (Jasminum officinale), which has a distinct aroma
  • Curry Plant (Helichrysum italicum)

Most important, avoid invasive weeds known as such for your region.

To add magic, have a place to sit and appreciate your moonlit garden and the sky above.

For one thing, enjoy the distinct aromas and sounds.

Not to mention, how you could observe the night sky and identify constellations.

With this connection to the wild, you can beat the heat at least during summer and see nature at night.

What you’ll need:

A Plan for Designing Your Moon Garden:

You can find designs and ideas online for creating a moon garden.

Try using Trello for planning and scheduling the tasks.  I use it for all my planning and storage of information and ideas. The beauty of Trello is that I can access this information from any of my devices. I can add pictures and web snippets. And, all the information is in one place, for easy access later.

Knowledge:

Planning, Planting a Moon Garden (Booktopia).

Garden gear:

  • Bench or Seat — wouldn’t this loveseat bench look great?!
  • Gardening Tools
  • A water-efficient watering system — this Conserve Sprinklis one solution for a time-saving automated setup, taking five minutes to install, connect, and configure to Wi-Fi, and is controlled by a mobile app.

#3. Sea bathing

Sea bathing is an ideal opportunity for nature connectedness when visiting or living near or at the coast.

Did you know…

Sea bathing was historically recommended as a ‘cure all’.

The therapeutic use of seawater is called Thalassotherapy, coined in ancient Greece by Hippocrates.

Sea bathing has been linked to many health and wellbeing benefits.

And, is even viewed as a spiritual remedy and for ocean baptism.

To add magic, try swimming and snorkeling in crystal ocean waters.

For the clearest ocean water, you could visit these 34 places in the world.

What you’ll need:

Knowledge:

Know where to swim. For example, in Australia, it’s best to know your beach safety. There can be dangers — e.g. sharks, stingers, and rifts.

Gear:

#4. Horticultural therapy (Gardening)

Horticultural therapy or therapy gardening provides nature contact with benefits for both adults and children.

Kids love exploring and playing in the dirt.

You can add magic by putting in special rocks and crystals, and even prayer flags.

What you’ll need:

Knowledge:

Horticultural Therapy at ACS Distance Education in Australia; in the US at AHTA, in the UK at Thrive.

Gear:

  • Gardening Tools
  • Compost
  • Soil
  • Plants and seedlings
  • A water-efficient watering system — this Conserve Sprinklis one solution for a time-saving automated setup, taking five minutes to install, connect, and configure to Wi-Fi, and is controlled by a mobile app.

#5. State and national parks

You can connect with the wild in various State or National Parks, such as the Snowdonia National Park, in North Wales.

Being a steward of the wild is one way. ‘Connecting with nature events’ are others.

Organizations, like those in Nth Carolina and others, exemplify this.

It is a way for schools to be involved, with tours and camps.

This connection to the wild can be magical through:

  • guided walks
  • spotlighting walks
  • wildlife encounters

and capturing the world of nature with explorer lenses and smartphone attachments.

What you’ll need:

Knowledge:

There is information in the links I provided above.

As well, read up on:Reclaiming the Wild Soul: How Earth’s Landscapes Restore Us to Wholeness.

Gear:

#6. Barefoot walking/running

Getting in touch with the earth beneath your feet is a freeing experience if nothing else.

Like…don’t you just love to kick off your shoes at home?…I do.

But, being intimate with nature is something else. It’s magic.

My favorite is going barefoot at the beach. What’s yours?

Except…when the sand is burning (ouch!), like in summer, I like to wear thongs (Aussie flip flops).

What you’ll need:

Healthy feet.

Knowledge:

Check out the Society for Barefoot Living.

Read about The Healing Benefits of Walking Barefoot.

Also, learn more about the 15 Health Benefits of Barefoot Running Shoes, According to Science, which includes eight tips for beginners.

Gear:

An option for formal occasions: Barebottoms shoes.

#7. Foraging

Foraging provides an opportunity for connecting through collecting foods in the wild.

But, care and guidance are needed.

There are guided foraging programs in cities and information on sites, like learning to identify plants and forage for wild food and medicine (for Sydneyites) and foraging for traditional native foods.

Some places have foraging tours, like Wild Food Adventures and Pucks Plenty.

To add magic, if you are into this, check out the foraging accessories on Terrafunga.

What you’ll need:

Knowledge:

There are books on foraging, knowing what to pick, etc., for particular areas: see Amazon,  here. and Booktopia

Gear:

#8. Green exercise

Green exercise is physical exercise performed in nature.

To add magic, take a friend with you or, where you can, your pet dog.

Make it a family outing. Make it often.

Include a picnic or any of the above activities.

For programs:

You can build your own program for fitness in the wild.

What you’ll need:

Knowledge:

Book: Outdoor Fitness: Step Out Of The Gym And Into The Best Shape Of Your Life

Gear:

What is your fun way to consciously connect with the wild?

I’d love to hear from you in the comments. 🙂

References:

  1. Kardan, Omid. 2015 Neighborhood green space and health in a large urban center. Scientific Reports 5, Article number: 11610   https://www.nature.com/articles/srep11610

Related:

 

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Getting in touch with the earth beneath your feet is a freeing experience.
Like...don't you just love to kick off your shoes at home?..I do.
But, being intimate with nature is something else.
My favorite is going barefoot at the beach. What's yours?

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